I remember when my life had a certain stability and predictability to it. I recall a time when there seemed to be some general order to my world. There were certain constants, some givens, a range of things that I could expect. I remember when I thought I had some idea about how things worked in my universe.
The sovereign God was in control. And that was a comforting thought.
Then came a day when my world began to tilt, wobble, and turn upside-down. Planets began to fly out of orbit. The laws of my universe that had maintained order for so long, seemed no longer to apply. The expected didn’t happen; the unthinkable did.
The sovereign God was in control. And that was a deeply unsettling thought.
When God is doing “reasonable” things, His sovereignty is reassuring. When we can’t make any sense of His governing of our affairs, we become desperate to get Him to be “reasonable.”
So, I took my place behind the master console in my heart’s control room. Then I began pulling every lever, pushing every button, flipping every switch, and turning every dial in order to move God to take action to restore order in my universe. I prayed, fasted, repented, pleaded, lamented, complained, and petitioned.
Nothing improved. My control panel lit up with errors, faults, and failures.
I cranked up my fervency, dialed in my specificity, potted up my faith, and pulled all my request levers again and again. I carefully calibrated my prayers to the Scriptures, making sure my petitions were aligned with the Bible. I tried to pray with such calculated, orthodox precision that God would be cornered into responding favorably to me.
But circumstances kept deteriorating. More warnings, alerts, and alarms blinked on the panel in front of me. So, I pounded on the “panic” button. And I searched for the right combination of switch positions that would get God to RESET my life.
Then I started to wonder if these levers, buttons, switches and dials had any effect on the real world. Was my control panel even connected to God? Had it ever been? It sure seemed like operating my console had worked in the past. But now I wasn’t sure.
Slowly, I began to understand that God was waiting patiently for me to stop my frantic manipulation of that control panel. I began to realize that, instead of trying harder to get God to respond to me, it was time for me to assume a spiritual posture of responsiveness to Him. I needed to speak less and learn how to listen more.
It occurred to me that God had not been ignoring me. He had been whispering to me. He was calling me into deeper relational intimacy with Him. The Spirit was inviting me to live with God in the mystery of trust, and encouraging me to enjoy the freedom of surrendering all control to Him.
I now know the sovereign God is present with me. And that’s a life-changing thought.